Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317/232-1622

For Immediate Release: Jan 12, 2006
Daniels describes plan for local government modernization

INDIANAPOLIS (January 12, 2006) ? Joined by leaders of Indiana?s local government organizations, Governor Mitch Daniels today released his bill to give local governments more flexibility and control in their efforts to reorganize, modernize, and seek new revenue sources that would create efficiencies and ultimately reduce reliance on property taxes.

?It?s time to create a new era of home rule and local autonomy in Indiana. With greater authority comes new responsibility. Local governments must use these tools and new freedoms to reduce overhead and live within the means of their taxpayers,? said Daniels.

Specifically, the governor?s plan would:

? Give local governments new revenue options, such as local option income, sales, food and beverage, and innkeepers? to provide property relief and meet future spending needs.

? Encourage and incentivize local governments to cooperate, collaborate or reorganize.

? Reduce local property tax burdens by starting to transfer financial responsibility for abused and neglected children in Indiana. The state Department of Child and Family Services (DCS) would pay all future expense for the program from the state?s general fund.

? Begin the process of improving the way Indiana assesses property for tax purposes. Eliminate the township assessment function and move it to the county level. All contracted vendors who provide assessment services would be required to meet stringent certification standards set by the Department of Local Government Finance.

Representatives from three of Indiana?s most important local government organizations joined the governor at the announcement: the Indiana Association of Cities & Towns, the Association of Indiana Counties, and the Indiana Association of County Commissioners. The governor also was joined by Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, as well as bill sponsors Rep. Matt Whetstone, R-Brownsburg, and Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville.

The plan is contained in House Bill 1400, sponsored in the House by Whetstone and in the Senate by Kenley.